The worth of cloud hosting is well documented, but what about adopting cloud applications into your business IT needs? Could these further increase the benefits of using cloud and help your business expand? The basic answer is yes, cloud computing has the possibility to cut IT bills and lower dependence on in-house resources. For small businesses, in particular one moving to a cloud system means that they will not need to invest incostly servers and networks or employ additional staff to preserve these systems.
For back office staff cloud services can really help to improve efficiency and handle many of the mundane administrative tasks applied on a day to day basis. Whether your business is large or small, cloud applications can help any company to work better for minimal investment and help free up resources for use elsewhere.
Here are ten cloud applications every business should consider adopting:
1. Human resources management with TribeHR
This application helps to manage your workforce and staff through your own secure human resources website. TribeHR will enable you to manage functions like vacations, job roles, appraisals and staff goals. The application is great for businesses with a workforce of up to 500.
2. Office applications with Google Docs
Although this began as a fairly simple application for online documents and spreadsheet functions that was basic and lacking in many of the features we associate with MS Office, Google Docs has evolved with a whole host of new features added to entice users. Although it still is not quite upto MS Office standards it is a great free tool which makes sharing documents very easy with just about anyone anywhere in the world!
3. Keep on top of accounts with Quickbooks Online
Company accounts is often one of the first things businesses will outsource simply because it is a time consuming task which often requires experience to ensure nothing is overlooked. Quickbooks Online is a slimmed down version of the popular accountancy software but ideal for small businesses who want accountancy software at their fingertips at anytime. It can also make it far easier to have your accountant check your figures over.
4. Handle payments and billing with Paypal:
The number one payment portal has been around for many years and most businesses will be familiar with it. It is the best way to accept payments online and can be used to set up recurring billing also. For ecommerce businesses Paypal offers shopping cart functionality and piece of mind to customers who know they can pay through a secure checkout process backed by a money back guarantee. For small businesses the payment handling fees are often significantly lower than from other mainstream financial institutions.
5. Handle global communications with Skype
Skype is a free to download application which will allow you to communicate with anyone anywhere in the world whether they have Skype or not. Skype to Skype calls are free and their call charges for non-Skype calls are reasonable too compared to many other call providers. Skype also has video capability, instant messaging and conference calling so you can conduct a call with several people at once. It also allows for documents to be shared whilst on a call, which can be great when dealing with potential clients.
6. All your IT apps in one suite with Zoho
Check out Zoho for a full suite of cloud applications such as office software, mail functions, CRM etc.
7. Manage email newsletters with Mailchimp
Mailchimp offers an easy to use application for the creation of email newsletters. The basic package is free and then charges are based on a sliding scale depending on the number of subscribers you have and the frequency of mailings.
8. Stay in control of the finances with Kashflow
This is an online accounting application which helps with the company accounts. It is initially offered on a free 60 day trial and then a monthly charge at the end of the trial.
9. Keep your files backed up and secure with iDrive
Moving to the cloud is all well and good but you will still need to ensure your files are kept secure and that regular backups are made in the event of data loss which is where iDrive can help.
10. Choose Brightpearl for a full suite of business applications
It can be difficult to manage all your administrative tasks with a number of different applications. Brightpearl will enable you to adopt a single suite of applications for tasks like invoicing, stock control, pricing, contacts, quotes and orders, as well as accounting and inventory management. Businesses will find they benefit from improved efficiency due to the lack of needing to share information across different applications and software.
About the Author: This article was written by Georgina Clatworthy, a freelance author writing about technology, small business and investment.